To learn Irish, or not? This issue was debated at the IDK seminar last Friday. Some deaf students learn Irish, others don’t. It depends on several factors like subject choice and not least, the oral & aural element of exams.
Students in Ireland typically learn Irish to qualify for university. This is why deaf students need access to different ways of learning the Irish language.
The website www.talkirish.com emphasises visual learning via different channels, which means deaf students can access this content to learn Irish.
Here is an overview of the website sections:
- The MP3 course has an audio course, accompanied by lyrics. Deaf and hard-of-hearing students can access the detail by reading the lyrics on an iPod, iPhone or iPad, and listening if their hearing ability allows.
- The Online Course has an audio facility with words in Irish and English. Deaf students can see images to describe what a word means, varied dialogues with characters and presentation in cartoon/animation style.
- The Daily Irish has three sections: Irish Word a Day, Irish Proverb a Day and Irish Crosswords. Students can learn a new word each day with an audio clip, a visual prompt and text in Irish and English. A second and third option allow students to explore Irish sayings and proverbs, and test the words they’ve learned. All explanations are bilingual and a word document can be accessed with words in English.
- The Dictionary is useful, because it gathers all words from the Focal an Lae service. Deaf students can recap their learning from an audio clip and/or written words in Irish and English, a few sentences and pictures.
- The Games area has two funny games for students to revise new words in Irish. One is WordFlash, with 51 word sections (colors, adjectives, animals, careers) with images as prompts. A second is Quizzes, with three paying options: Irish-English (text), English-Irish (text) and Irish-English (audio). This game has visuals, words in English and five multi-choice words in Irish for students to choose.
- The Downloads area has flashcards with visuals and text in both languages, crosswords, proverbs and pdf documents for revision.
To conclude, while the site has audio clips, its visuals and text give deaf students access to content to learn Irish just as other students do. If the website added written pronunciation to its functions, this would ensure the students know the correct way of pronouncing a word while learning it.
(compiled by Raluca Maier)
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